12

Vendetta

Couldn't find a picture with  a black girl...does it matter?

Couldn’t find a picture with a black girl…does it matter?

Hello guys!

I apologise for my absence and unsatisfactory answers to your ‘where-have-you-been’s. Consistency isn’t my forte right now, and guess whose phone decided to stop functioning. I wrote this piece last year and I just realised I haven’t shared it, though I recited it at an open mic event. Who said throwbacks have to be posted only on Thursdays? Enjoy, and kindly drop your comments. 🙂

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You pass your verdict
even before I plead my case,
Stormily spewing slander,
Like a volcano ejecting lava,
as you describe my features:
Lacklustre eyes,
brows the Creator carved in darkness,
a nose that struggles to breathe,
behemoth lips.
Your incandescent eyes bore into me with no sympathy,
glazing my eyes, inducing steam;
decreasing my grace with every glance you steal.
Crack. Shatter. Scatter.
That’s the sound of breaking self-esteem.

Mirror, Mirror on the wall.
You conceited, unfair judge of all.
You dissenter,
Disserving my head from the sky,
Bringing her down low to flirt with earth,
As tears from her eyes wet the ground.

Today, my tears flow a different course,
Unto your face this time.
I weep because you do not know you are blind.
How can you not see the beauty within me?
Come, let me save you from your misery.
Crack. Shatter. Scatter.
That’s the sound of breaking glass.

Aside
12

Who placed a crown upon your head
and adorned you with royal robes?
Is your blood thicker than the red in our veins?
Or is it different, is it of a purple shade?

Who put a gavel in your right hand,
the staff of justice in your left?
Are the laws of the land entrenched deeper in your psyche than in ours?
Is there a halo we cannot see, hovering around your holy head?

Hello there, Voice of the people.
Do you purloin words from our mouths and cram them into yours?
Or do you spew words from your mouth and label it ours?
Do you speak because you have a higher pitch?
Do you sing because you own a birdlike song?

Who bestowed upon you this authority?
God, you say?
Show us the certificate He wrote,
to defend your claim.
An angel delivered it to your doorstep, no?
Pray, tell us his name.

Our knees will kiss the floor in reverence,
as we spread our garments for your will to ride into our hearts,
only when you answer the question we ponder,
who made you ruler and judge over us?

~~~
Questions are, in my opinion, the most effective way to challenge people- their actions, thoughts and beliefs. This poem was written in the course of my meditation on a question Emmanuel Iduma posed to a group of people who were participating in a writing workshop, including me. We were discussing the politics of our writing and most of us stated that writers are the spokespersons, the voice of the people. He then said, “But who gave us the authority?”
I tried to form a conclusive answer, and I am still trying.
When we write on matters arising, offering our opinions, judgements and prescriptions (which is a good act in itself) we believe we are speaking on behalf of the general public, or an affected group of people, but where does the right to do that stem from? Is it just a part of our fundamental human rights? Does it emanate from a sense of God-given responsibility, self-imposed duty, or social obligation to the world we belong to? Or does it, like a friend of mine said, emanate from a sense of requital in appreciation to the heroes ahead of us who have helped us advocate for a cause?
Is the need to advocate for people simply innate?
I think these questions are necessary because it helps us understand ourselves and our world. It serves as a measure of the nobleness of our intentions in our use of words and actions.
When we can honestly identify the source of our authority, it will show forth in our words and work, empowering us to command the listening ears and approving hearts of people.
It enables your audience know why it is your voice that should be heeded amidst the other voices contending for attention.
Since I’ve already thrown a barrage of questions at you, I might as well end with one. What do you think about this ‘authority’ I (and Iduma) speak of?

6

Love and Lust

Hello everyone.
The post below, put in upper
case, did not originate from
me. The author is Ayanfeoluwa Lawal. Dr. Tope Oni, my dad, referred me to it and I was blessed by it, even though it’s brief.
Following his request (and willingly too) I decided to cull it from Facebook and post it on my blog; I pray you’ll be blessed in wisdom also.
————————————————————————————
LOVE WILL RESPECT YOUR BOUNDARIES; LUST WILL TEST THEM.
LOVE WILL ADMIRE YOUR
STANDARDS; LUST WILL LOWER THEM.
LOVE WILL NURTURE YOUR
WEAKNESS; LUST WILL MANIPULATE (EXPLOIT) THEM.
LOVE WILL SUPPORT YOU;
LUST WILL TEMPT YOU.
LOVE WILL COMPLETE YOU;
LUST WILL DEFEAT YOU.

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19

Conquistador

Hello everyone.
School’s been keeping me busy, that’s why I haven’t posted anything in a while. But no lectures till 1pm, so here I am! 😀
We have a guest writer on the blog today. The first time I read lines from this guy’s poem, I had a déjà vu, and for some weird reason, that made me want to read more from him. I sent him a mail asking him to write for my blog and his first reply was “I’m sorry, I think you have the wrong e-mail address.” Lol
He did send something though- a beautiful philosophical piece that expresses pure emotions without putting too much effort in the use of poetic technicalities.
Here’s @Muyinho with “Conquistador”. Enjoy
————————————————————————————
I sit still under the frosty grip
of another cold night, the
salty trickle on my face glistening under the moonlight, as time ticks on oblivious of my plight,

the heaviness in my heart sinking me, each second, deeper into distress,

till I’m lost in an abyss of uncertainty, stricken by the loss and the agony afresh,

engulfed by consummate darkness, and consumed by terror of soulless flesh.

The wind carries the first throaty wail of a child from the window behind, to my ears, reminding me of why I am here,

that sound of fresh life should be followed by the joy of a father and the sincere smile of its tired mother,
yet I’m in the rain on the balcony feeling nothing but pain,

inside a new widower holds his son, baby in his arm probably weighs a ton to him,

the love of his life for a kid he’s never met, not the choice he’d take if the decision was his to make,

a clap of thunder disturbs the sequence of my mind, and draws my thoughts back to me,

I’m afraid of living in this world of incessant crying, and yet too scared of dying,

What is the point of creation if eventually it must end, what is the creator’s motive and what exactly does he intend?

A flash in the cloud calls for my attention and I stare into the firmaments till comprehension finds me,
eyes fixed on the lightning streaked skies as it dawns on me how little our existence means,

Tonight the curtain closes on an ageing girl’s story for an infant man’s tale to begin,
an old woman dies so that a little boy might live,

just as the seasons change and the waters shift, and helios rises unbidden each morning to give the world a lift,
only God knows what good to the world his birth might bring,

so for each moment endless, and every decade swift,
the burden of knowing that this life of mine is little more than a gift,

each ribbon around as a mystery to be unravelled, and each fold of pretty paper an obstacle to be overcome,

they say enlightenment inflames belief, and belief confers strength,

thus in my moment of clarity I become bestowed with the courage to actualize my new found belief,

they say pleasure is accentuated by pain, plenty by previous lack, health by years of pestilence, and the yearning for peace by countless wars,

likewise only through the horrible eyes of hades can the beauty of living be seen,
only in the Grim Reaper’s icy embrace will I feel the warmth of my own skin.

Now I know what I must do to transcend this pitiful existence,

invigorated by knowledge, I take a plunge into the ocean of my mortal fear, a literal jump from a parapet at the hospital’s top,

I have found a fitting end to all my wasted years, tonight I will not be stopped,
if I live, it will be as a better man, appreciative of whatever is left of my life-span,

if i survive, it would be without the thorns of regret,

kept alive by the purpose for which I was born, by all the goals I have not met,

but if I die, sprawled on the pavement as my mangled body lies,

let my spirit rise forth proudly to the heavens, like olympus bound smoke from the pyres of ancient greece,

borne in the arms of maiden valkyrie, ascending with the ravens, clothed in raiment from spotless fleece,

for tonight I have conquered
pain,

tonight I have conquered
fear,

tonight I have conquered
death.

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35

Just Like You

Recently, I featured on Damstylee’s blog series ‘The Letters’ with a Letter To My Mentor (kindly read if you haven’t.)
It piqued the curiosity and concern of many who kept on asking whether the letter was fictional or not. And even when I claimed it was fictional, some seemed doubtful.
I’ll just make this statement, that can be taken as a disclaimer, although that’s not the purpose of this post.
Literature is a re-enactment of life experiences; and personally, I believe the beauty of fiction is when it appears real. It’s one thing to write about an experience, it’s another to write out of an experience. I did the latter, and it doesn’t make my piece any less fictional.
For every story, there is an inspiration, so yes, an experience inspired that piece. An experience that definitely wouldn’t call for a funny, insensitive letter like the one my character wrote. An experience that only bears like 5% similarity to the story. (*yimu*, if you like, but it’s the truth)

Now, when that event occurred— in this case, the person wasn’t female, neither was he my mentor, and the discovery was far different— I did feel shocked and disappointed, like every other human being would. But those feelings ebbed quickly and were replaced by waves of sympathy and sorrow. Tears kept welling up in my eyes as I tried to imagine what he must be going through. And I felt bad. Someone who I claimed to know well was struggling with something and I didn’t even know.
People around you, people close to you, are struggling with one thing or the other, and you have no idea. You just assume everything is fine with them.

Speaking of that letter, human beings tend to expect so much from someone who never promised they had so much to give; people live their lives calmly and humbly, standing on the earth, and we lift them up unto pedestals, and look up to them, without their consent. We view their lives from afar off, and make assumptions about them, then we tag them our role model, mentor, teacher, counsellor and all those other lofty titles.
We go to them whenever we have issues and we talk and talk. We dump all our challenges on them because we hold the belief that they are incinerators with no dirt of theirs, their job is to burn your problems to ashes by profferring advice and solutions. You just assume they have no challenges of theirs, so you don’t care to ask or know. Your pastor may be struggling to pay a loan, but you don’t know because you assume he’s a man of God with more blessings and anointing and has everything going well for him. Your mentor may be battling with a certain negative addiction but you don’t know because you assume (s)he always has the answers to problems, and seems so upright.
You don’t know because you don’t ask. You don’t ask because you think it’s not your place to. You think it’s not your place to because you think they are different from you, better and more special than you. Which may be true, to some extent, but never forget that these people are in the flesh like you, they are frail humans too! So yes, they have issues too.
You assume so much, and create high expectations based on your assumptions, then when they disappoint you, you begin to judge and criticise them, forgetting that you didn’t care enough about them in the first place. I think it’s really unfair. Do you pray for your pastor? Do you ask questions concerning the welfare of your teacher? Have you ever visited your mentor’s home? What do you really know about these people?
I’m not even limiting it to them now; what about your parents/children, siblings, friends, colleagues, room mates, church members? What do you really know about them?
Do not be deceived by the smiles, the tough mien, the heads held high, the charisma/charm, the cool words and all. These people are struggling with something- it could be a besetting sin, family issues, heartbreak, disease, want, academic failure; seek to know and help.

Last year, a woman who taught me in secondary school passed away. A friend of mine who was closer to the late woman than I was, called me and said “Dunni, do you know Mrs So and So never had a child? I went to offer her husband my condolences, then I found out.” (paraphrased)
I’m sure I didn’t feel as bad as that girl did. This was a woman who knew all of her problems and helped her scale through, yet the girl didn’t even know what burdens she carried.
At this point, you may say “But people can be so secretive.”
Truth is, other people made them that way. (Well… apart from those who are secretive due to their temperament)
They are secretive because of fear of judgement, mockery, being misunderstood, rejection.
They are secretive because they are aware of how much you expect from them, and they are trying so hard to be strong for you, not to fail you.
This makes many to live in shells, and build mighty walls around themselves. How do you break through? Through Love!
The opposite of love is self. You don’t know what others go through because your selfish nature finds it more comfortable to assume than to ask. You are oblivious to what they face because you are so engrossed in your own challenges. This is why you talk and talk to them about your issues without endeavouring to listen to theirs. You say you are minding your own business, yet you want them to mind yours.
Make efforts to get closer to people. Show them love. Don’t just talk, listen! Ask questions, call them, visit them, text them, offer sincere compliments, do them little unasked favours. That way, you’ll effortlessly get them to open up to you, and then you can be of help. Love tears down every wall, love melts the coldest of hearts.
In love, even when people disappoint you, you won’t judge them. You will empathise with them, comfort them and support them however you can. (Personally, I don’t even beg people not to judge me. When you judge, you will be judged by the same measure. Whatever you sow, you will reap. These are spiritual laws, and trust me, they are functional.)
See, people don’t need your cheap pity, gossipping, sneers, critical comments and sighs. They don’t need your indifference. They need your words of encouragement, prayer, action plans, calls and messages. They need your love!
It’s a new year. Let us all cast off selfishness and presumptions/assumptions and seek to know/understand/help other people in love. Remember they are human beings, just like you.
Peace.

P.S: As always, your comments are appreciated. Thanks for reading. Kindly share too. 🙂

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2

Hello 2014

Happy New Year everyone! All thanks to God for bringing us safely into 2014.

THEME ’14
I smiled when I saw the theme of the year for my church— Foursquare Gospel Church.
“Our Year of Fulfilled Desires”
It sounded so complete, so satisfying, so reassuring! Like I’m just going to step into the year and plant my feet on blessings already laid on the ground for me.
The theme text is from Psalm 145:18-19
The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.
He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He also will hear their cry and save them.

Just like every promise, there is a condition for fulfillment.
“Call upon the LORD, cry to the LORD and fear Him.”
2014 has to be a year of constant prayer and communion with God, and walking in the fear of God.
Basically, the back-up verse for this theme is “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
As always, God’s abundant grace comes into the picture. We can’t seek, fear and obey Him without His divine enablement.

VERSE 2014
Few days ago, I got a mail from YouVersion, telling me to
“Find… #Verse2014. A promise to reflect on. A different way of thinking. A new discipline.”
As I was going through my timeline that night, I saw a tweet on peace and then John 14:27 dropped into my spirit
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
And I’m like “Yes, that’s the verse!”
I battle with fear and worry a lot! (Maybe because of my temperament) It was really crazy last year. I lost sleep,  shed tears, became depressed, and made bad decisions all because of fear and worry.
But as I focus on that verse every 365 days, I believe those weaknesses will be conquered by grace through faith in the unfailing words of my Lord Jesus Christ.
No matter the circumstances and news around me, I will always have divine peace within me, not the false sense of peace the world gives when things seem to go well for a while.

GOALS ’14
New year: Fresh goals and plans!
As I was reviewing year 2013, I regretted not following through with the goals I’d set at the beginning of the year. I think it’s because I did it reluctantly— my elder sister made me set those goals.
But now that I’m wiser, I’ve already (willingly) set my goals with time-frames. (Personal, academic, ministry)
That way, I can go through the year with a better sense of direction and purpose. I can also measure my achievements better. I only pray I implement the action plans without procrastinating.

THE (BITTER?) TRUTH
New Years are not altogether new. New Years are not new beginnings, New Years don’t mean a new life. It is only a continuation of what has been; a fresh page in the book of your life, not a fresh book.
This means that your past will catch up with you. Previous decisions and choices will bear consequences this year. You will begin to reap the fruit of the seeds you’ve sown in past years, (while still sowing seeds for future years), be it good or bad. That exam you wrote last year, you will see the results this year. The changes you made to your appearance and behaviour last year during the holidays, people will witness them when school resumes, etc.
So brace yourself for whatever comes your way, remembering that you brought it upon yourself.

Life is all about answering questions.

● What is the overall purpose of my life?
● What gifts/talents do I have, and how can I use them for God’s glory and to bless others?
● What Christlike characteristics are missing from or underdeveloped in my life?
● What necessary skills do I lack and need to learn?
Etc.
Life is all about learning, growing and changing!  And you’ll be doing a lot of that this year, as always.
I pray we all have a fulfilling year!
Cheers.

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8

Reflections ’13

During the 2012 crossover vigil, I remember my pastor saying “In the (mystic) world, 13 is associated with bad luck, and many such events will happen this year but this will not be so for us children of God.” (Paraphrased)
He was right; accidents on land and air, terrorist attacks, wars/conflicts, strikes, and all, occurred this year. But God’s grace abounded to my family and I: divine protection, provision, good health/divine healing, journey mercies, academic/career excellence, favour, fruitful friendships, to mention but a few.

“Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no-one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.”Psalm 40:5

2013 has to be my most interesting year so far. Many dramatic experiences that I never imagined would happen to me did happen; sometimes I’d feel thrilled, like I was a character in a book or movie, sometimes I’d feel dejected, like Fate was playing tricks on me. I went through many new experiences this year, the major one being that I got admitted into the university in March. The day before the session began, my elder sister got married. As I was packing my stuff in the evening, I was just crying, thinking of how much I’d miss her, and how suddenly my life was changing.
So many things changed this year! And I’m thankful to God for giving me the grace to adjust.
I’m thankful to God for keeping me through unfavourable, difficult times. On January 4th, I had a hurtful experience (that formed the basis for my story). I cried so much, thinking: “God, this wasn’t the deal we had, why did you let this happen to me so soon?”
But it was only a lesson preparing me for tougher exams, and God healed me quickly. I remember when I printed my admission letter from the JAMB website, I saw “Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education” instead of “Obafemi Awolowo University”. I was in so much despair, kept on wondering what went wrong since I had filled my form correctly. But I thank God that didn’t stop me from starting school this year. There was this time I passed out during a prayer meeting at school, I fell facedown and had lacerations all over my face. I’ve never felt so terrible and ugly in my entire life. People kept on offering me pity and it made me feel worse. But God healed me so soon and no ugly scars remained. Yes, this year was about emotional healing!
I don’t even need to talk about the boy drama and conflict with parents every teenager faces. You can imagine. I survived all that, Halleluyah.
I had good moments this year, thanks to all the beautiful people who showed me so much love. Apart from my family, every other significant person in my life came in this year. And I’m so grateful to God for them.
2013 was a year of going deeper with God. I got so much spiritual knowledge and insight and the Holy Spirit taught me a lot! I wasn’t as consistent as I wanted to be, there were many moments of rising and falling. There were times Jesus and I were intimate lovers, there were times we were just acquaintances. There were times my imperfection came between us, I’d fall into sin and break His heart (Wait…Jesus has a heart right? Not the one that pumps blood, of course) Still He loved me and showed me mercy and favour! It was and is so amazing!
2013 taught me to wait so much. Being an indifferent person by nature, sometimes I didn’t care. Sometimes, I did. It taught me patience.
I made foolish, reckless choices this year, to be honest. Made mistakes and caused myself pain. I am not proud of them but I’ve come to see them as necessary, though avoidable, experiences that taught me priceless lessons I may not have learnt otherwise. I don’t have time for regrets! God’s mercy has covered them. 🙂
I wrote a lot this year— this blog bears the testimony— and I’m thankful to God for constant inspiration!
I believe this year would have been more purposeful for me if I had been more serious with goal-setting and all, so that’s the first lesson I’m taking into 2014.
Finally, I discovered more about myself this year— Like realising my dominant temperament is Phlegmatic and not Melancholy (._.) — and I can say I’ve grown. I love myself and I am proud of who God made me to be.
Now I’m just reflecting and smiling with gratitude and joy in my heart, thinking “God, deal with me severely if I don’t become wiser in 2014.”

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures for ever.”- Psalm 136:1

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